New study on aid transparency and accountability in marine fisheries and conservation

Transparentsea is currently undertaking research on donor spending in Africa for fisheries and marine conservation projects. The aim of the research is to provide the first global view of spending by multilateral and bi-lateral aid organisations and to analyse levels of transparency and accountability. The results of this project will be published towards the end of 2011.

The project has been developed due to widespread concern among NGOs in Africa with the outcomes and impact of large scale donor projects in marine fisheries. Substantial amounts of money have been provided to governments for improving fisheries management and the livelihoods of the small-scale sector, yet public information on the use of these funds is often lacking. Many aid agencies fail to publish project documents, budgets and evaluations, meaning local citizens and NGOs are unable to play an oversight role. Some examples suggest corruption and waste in donor funded projects exist, but this tends to be ignored. There are also strong links between aid spending and fisheries access; several aid agencies use aid spending to improve the terms of fisheries agreements for their national fishing industry.

This research will involve analyzing publicly available information from multi-lateral and bi-lateral aid agencies, including those from Europe, North America and Asia. We are also sending requests for further information to these agencies on their approach to transparency on specific projects. Their co-operation and assistance on this work will be highly appreciated.

The preliminary results of the study will be presented at a seminar in Dakar in November, to be attended by NGOs from throughout Sub-Sharan Africa. The theme of this seminar is on improving transparency and access to information in marine fisheries and participants will be discussing future advocacy work and policy recommendations aim at governments and inter-governmental organizations.

This project forms part of work by Transparentsea for the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements, and is funded through generous support by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.

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